Tuesday, 28 July 2009

More on BD 5's in New Zealand

Following Blue Bus's excruciating Question Time 61 (I identified a pusher propellor at the rear but could I match it to a BD 5?), I thought I would post the BD 5's that have flown in New Zealand. All of these have been BD 5B's which feature an extended fuselage.

The BD 5, designed by Jim Bede (who had previously designed the AA1 Trainer and the BD 4 of which one has flown in New Zealand), burst onto the homebuilding scene in early 1980's and thousands of kits were sold worldwide because it looked so sexy. However the sales sped far ahead of the development of the aircraft which suffered huge problems with the original Hirth engine and with the shaft drive to the propellor. New Zealand was also swept up with the hype and Pacific Aerospace became the New Zealand agents and imported quite a few kits, some of which were sold to keen homebuilders. However the whole project collapsed for the above technical reasons and today there are thousands of partly built BD 5's around the world! Eventually different engines were tried but the most successful was the BD 5J which used a small jet engine and so overcame the technical problems. I think one BD 5J came to New Zealand and was flown at the opening of Auckland International Airport.

I think that ZK-XBD (c/n 3904, built by C A McMillan of Mosgiel, first registered on 30/6/04) was the first to fly, at Taieri, but it came to grief early on when it hit a navigation board on the airfield - can anyone confirm the first flight date and that it was the first to fly? It was then sold to G S Nicholls of Tauranga on 30/6/07 and I saw it flying at the 2008 SAANZ flyin at Tauranga where this photo was taken. (GS NIcholls also owns Rutan Long EZ ZK-LET which is another aircraft with an interesting story).

The next BD 5 to fly was (I think) Dr Ian Griffin's ZK-ZBD (c/n 3898 first registered on 21/8/01), photographed here at New Plymouth in 2006. This has flown several times at New Plymouth and Ian says it flies very well. This aircraft has a Honda Civic motor. It is currently owned by the ISJ Griffin Family Trust.
And the final BD 5 to fly (I think) was D F C Rose's ZK-ZIP (c/n AACA 235 first registered on 19/7/82!), which test flew at Ardmore in 2006 I think, and achieved some publicity in the newspapers when the undercarriage collapsed on landing. However it has been repaired and this photo was taken at Ardmore in 2007. The point on the nose is a lead weight for Cof G balance. It is currently owned by the ESOR Trust of Manakau City.
Several other BD 5's were completed in New Zealand in the 1980's and 1990's but I do not think any of them flew. I have a couple of photos of some of these BD 5's that I might post if anyone is interested. I think it would be interesting to document the full (but brief!) story of BD 5's in New Zealand - what information do others have out there?


  1. I also have:

    BD-5D ZK-DVE c/n 3886
    15/7/1974 NZ Aerospace Industries Ltd., Hamilton
    8/10/1979 J V Hodge, Auckland
    13/2/1984 A C Kenworthy, Christchurch (later Auckland)
    16/3/1992 Canceled as not completed


    BD-5B ZK-RMT c/n 3902
    6/11/1997 Bede Enterprises, Porirua (Barry Ralston)
    14/10/2002 Canceled as S.Abd (did this ever fly here?)

    BD-5B ZK-RWF c/n AACA/629
    3/7/1987 R W Foley, Wellington
    17/12/1998 Canceled as WFU

    Plus of course the successful BD-4 ZK-RDH which was active from 1996-2004

  2. I believe that at least 32 kits came to NZ !
    ZK-DVE already mentioned.
    ZK-DYL ditto. Same c/n 3902 as ZK-RMT.
    ZK-DYM c/n 3903 D F C Rose, Auckland 1974. NTU. To ZK-ZIP.
    ZK-DYN c/n 3904 B Weinstein, WN. NTU.
    ZK-DYO c/n 3913/AACA/240/1 J L Williams, AK 1974. Presume not completed.
    ZK-DYP c/n 3882/AACA231/1 G Jones, AK 1974. NTU.
    ZK-DYT c/n 3877 K E Yeo, Hobsonville 1974. NTU.
    ZK-RMT c/n 3902 (ex ZK-DYL NTU)Canc as exported.
    ZK-RWF already covered.
    ZK-TCH c/n AACA685 P J Sheehan, AK 5/1984. Presume NTU.
    ZK-XBD (ex ZK-DYN NTU).
    ZK-ZBD already mentioned.
    ZK-ZIP (ex ZK-DYM NTU).
    There was a large collection of bits at Ashburton Museum some years back.
    There is one complete ? and bits of two more recently imported & stored at Rangiora.

  3. Wow, a lot o BD-5's around! Someone must have some video of that BD-5J at Auckland Airport?

    (p.s. small point re post - the BD-5 is more a 70's thing rather 80's - Bede Aircraft was bankrupt by 1979)

  4. Re: BD5 ZK-DYN c/n 3904; I purchased the semi built kit from Bernard Weinstein in approx 1995 and sold it three years later (uncompleted). It was then finished and became ZK-XBT.
    Regards----Neil France

  5. Sorry, meant to say it became XBD!

  6. Does anybody know where I may find zk-tch I would like to find the current owner.